Silent Screams – Puppet Masters | The Merry Skeleton (1897)

While Le squelette joyeux (The Merry Skeleton) is more lighthearted fun with little-to-no scares [to us modern viewers], with it the Lumiere brothers lay the groundwork for using special effects to create monster movie magic, which has advanced a tad in the 100+ years since.

In fact, only 3 years later, Frederick Armitage successfully transported the skeleton away from the static black background and onto a pirate ship at sea for Davey Jones’ Locker. The next thing you know, Davy Jones is raising hell in a Disney movie setting sail towards $1 billion dollars, literally. Thanks, Lumiere brothers!


Slapstick Summer Series! – The Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (1900), Wrestling w/ Melies

This film, like yesterday’s, is also not considered to be the 1st slapstick movie…but in this case, I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps this is due to the physical comedy occurring only in an unexpected (and extreme) manner, but not not in an unexpected setting? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Pierrette’s Escapades [Le départ d’Arlequin et de Pierrette] (1900)

An early example of a hand-tinted film, where each frame was painted and which always contain an air of

Music performed by Billy Duncan for Change Before Going Productions.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Turn-of-the-Century Surgery [Chirurgie fin de siècle] (1900)

Amazingly successful, albeit painful, surgical procedures. Please do not cry.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance [Le danse des saisons] (1900)

Slightly odd little piece that holds a bit more significance due to its unique attempt at copyright (watch the bottom-right starting at 0:21).

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – At the Photographer’s [Chez le photographe] (1900)

Slightly meta film as we have moving pictures of a man continually moving out of the way from being photographed. A simple film, but the comedic timing is on point.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Automated Hat-Maker and Sausage-Grinder [Chapellerie et charcuterie mécanique] (1900)

What else do you need?

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – Opera Avenue [Avenue de l’opéra] (1900)

Not the first reverse-motion film, but definitely one of the most vibrant from early cinema. With plenty of action, we are given a surreal portal to the past.

March Melies Madness! – How He Missed His Train [Le réveil d’un monsieur pressé] (1900)

A variation on a familiar Méliès theme, but reversed. In How He Missed His Train (aka Le réveil d’un monsieur pressé), the character’s difficulty lies not in preparing for bed, but rather in readying himself to exit his sleeping quarters.

March Melies Madness! – The Doctor and the Monkey [Le savant et le Chimpanze] (1900)

Méliès monkeys around in Le savant et le Chimpanze (aka The Doctor and the Monkey), an atypical film for Melies that includes an interesting split-level set which allows for viewing two floors at the same time.